People say a lot of things to us from day to day.
Most of the words we hear go right through us and we are completely unaffected by it, but sometimes words can impact us greatly.
If someone tells me they think my hair is beautiful, It makes me feel really good. If a second person tells me my hair looks beautiful, It only reinforces that good feeling. If I walked around every day getting compliments about my beautiful hair, my ego might become attached to that idea of having beautiful hair.
But, what would happen if one day someone came around and told me that my hair was frizzy or that they think it would look better a different color? I could start to second guess my hair’s beauty, for a split second, I might start to feel a tightness in my chest, a closing of my heart, and a twinge of pain.
Then I could feed into that pain by examining my hair in the mirror, over analyzing it and ultimately deciding it’s ugly and that I need a makeover.
I could then spend the rest of my day numbing that pain with self-destructive behavior like eating junk food, drinking a bottle of wine, and/or using my negative energy to judge someone else’s imperfections (hello reality television).
This is only a small example of how triggers work. Triggers can come from literally anything and anywhere.
They are revealing our greatest fears.
The thing is that we actually have a choice, right then in that moment when the chest begins to tighten and we feel our vibrations lowering. We can choose to ask ourselves questions about these feelings.
Today I’m going to be real with you and share a story about something that triggered me recently, and how I kept my peace…
Coming from an eating disordered background, in the past, I had tied a lot of my self-worth to my appearance and particularly my weight. I spent my 20’s berating myself in the mirror, eating restrictive diets and over-exercising to the point of exhaustion.
A few years ago, I finally got to the point where I allowed myself to gain weight so that I could heal my body and develop a better relationship with food.
But, the thing is that when you’ve spent your entire life believing that you are only as worthy as you are outwardly beautiful, a lot of really painful shit comes up. I basically had to learn how to love myself, regardless of my weight, my pant size, and the firmness of my stomach.
Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to see how far I’ve come.
A friend of mine with an eating disorder/ body dysmorphia often complains about her weight, though she is much thinner than me. She body shames herself and others unknowingly and has made a few comments that have triggered me.
One day in particular, we were discussing a popular health blogger who I look up to. My friend mentioned that she can’t believe the blogger could always be hanging around all of the girls who are so much fitter than she is, and that “she must be really confident”.
Internally, I felt pretty upset by this. I was bothered by the fact that I felt my friend was trying to sell me this way of thinking that I’d worked so hard to dismantle in my own mind. The idea that someone’s worth is measured by the definition of their abs, or the thinness of their thighs. The idea that said blogger should feel inferior to her more fit friends, represents exactly what I want to change in the world.
And the fact that this health blogger is actually very fit and thin herself really could have brought me back to dark place.
Had I not spent the past 3 years of my life working on my self-worth and self-love, this would have really broken me.
I instantly felt angry and judgmental toward my friend for feeling this way. This was a HUGE trigger and right then and there I had the choice to hold a grudge or to use this as an opportunity for growth.
I chose growth. I reminded myself that my friend’s beliefs are not my own, and they are not about me, they’re about her. By doing that, I detached myself from feeling offended by the situation.
Then instead of judging my friend and belittling her way of thinking, I chose to have compassion for her. I put a little hope out into the universe that one day she won’t feel that way anymore, after all, she is only mirroring what society has taught her to believe. I reminded myself that at one time I actually shared her opinion, so I could understand where she was coming from.
All said and done I felt really empowered by my ability to shift my mind from darkness to light, in a situation that may have wrecked me in the past, I was able to let it go.
My point in telling this story was to show you how easy it is to make the choice to keep your peace. We have the power to say “no I will not feed my fears”.
In bringing you face to face with your deepest pain, being triggered is the perfect opportunity to build a new belief system. And each time that the trigger comes up, you become stronger in that new belief. It naturally becomes less and less of a trigger, until one day it’s completely gone. And you have successfully healed that part of yourself.
My wish for you is that you’ll choose peace over pain and build an unwavering sense of self-worth.